- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2014

A government oversight committee accused a high-level Department of Veterans Affairs official who retired last month of engaging in prohibited hiring practices and giving preferential treatment to a particular contractor.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General has unearthed new information that shows Steve Muro, former head of the VA’s cemetery system, created a position within the National Cemetery Administration for a friend.

In one case, he gave a woman “an unfair competitive advantage by providing her a letter of recommendation, which she used to procure additional administration contracts,” according to investigation documents.

In another case, Mr. Muro allowed an administration contractor to review the resume of his longtime friend, whom he then preselected for a higher-paying position. When his friend began to plan for retirement in 2003, Mr. Muro provided retention incentives that, over several years, allowed his friend to retire at the point where he was making more than $100,000 a year.

Mr. Muro was the undersecretary for memorial affairs from June 2011 to June 2014. During that time, he oversaw more than 130 cemeteries for military veterans and their family members.